Siliguri: A civil engineering student was among five persons arrested for trafficking a dead pangolin near Kalijhora bridge near Siliguri on Tuesday. The animal was being smuggled to Bhutan from Sikkim via Siliguri, said sources.
The accused persons have been identified as Arjun Rai, Kamal Sundas, Gopal Dorji, Santosh Kumar and Umesh Subba. They were intercepted by the Belakoba forest range and North Bengal Task Force officials around 4 am on Tuesday.
As per Belakoba forest ranger Sanjay Dutt, his team reached the Bengal-Sikkim border near Kalijhora bridge early on Tuesday morning. “We received a tip-off that a vehicle carrying a wild animal is approaching towards West Bengal from Sikkim,” he said. Upon searching, the forest department officials found a bag stuffed with leafy vegetables, inside which a dead pangolin was found hidden.
Based on interrogation of the accused, Dutt informed that the pangolin was killed in a reserve forest of Sikkim and the consignment was being taken to Bhutan. “The arrested persons from Sikkim are doing this business for a long time and traffickers from China and Bhutan are also involved in this racket,” said Dutt.
The dead pangolin weighed 7.5 kg and the accused were planning to sell it for Rs 4 lakh. The vehicle used in the crime has also been seized.